NASCAR-loving North Carolina may not be the first place you’d think of as being particularly pro-electric car, but for 40-lucky residents the cost of buying a 2012 Nissan Leaf there just dropped by $5,000 thanks to a time-limited scheme being run by Advanced Energy.

As part of its latest research project into plug-in vehicles, the Raleigh, N.C., based Advanced Energy has been given a grant by the North Carolina State Energy Office (NCSEO) under the state’s Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Funding Opportunity scheme. 

As a consequence, Advanced Energy will offer 40 local residents of the Greater Triangle -- an area encompassing the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill known for its three universities and high-tech research companies -- $5,000 towards the cost of a 2011 Nissan Leaf SL so that it can study electric car use better.

With a sticker price of $37250 before any rebates, the 2012 Nissan Leaf SL isn’t exactly cheap. In a state like North Carolina which doesn’t officially offer any purchase incentives -- although it does grant electric cars High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access -- the best possible discount a prospective Leaf owner can hope for is the $7,500 plug-in car federal tax rebate. 

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

However, for those who meet Advanced Energy’s criteria, the $5,000 contribution combines with the federal tax credit to bring the effective sticker price after rebates for the 2012 Nissan Leaf SL to $24,750.

The catch? In order to qualify for the additional $5,000 purchase grant, you’ll have to live within the Greater Triangle area, commute to work at least three times a week, and be willing to have a data logger fitted in your Leaf for two years in order to enable the researchers study how you use and charge your new Leaf.

While the deal is some way off the oh-so-specific deal for employees of Sony who lived in specific counties in California that technically meant a 2011 Nissan Leaf could cost as little as $12,280, we think it’s still a pretty neat deal for anyone who doesn’t mind helping out with a little academic research. 

If you live in the Greater Triangle area of North Carolina, you can visit the Advanced Energy website for more information, but you’ll have to hurry: in order to be eligible you have to complete the application and buy a car by December 15, 2011.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.